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Video exclusive: Mark Webber on the new Red Bull F1 car and how he can beat Sebastian Vettel
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Video exclusive: Mark Webber on the new Red Bull F1 car and how he can beat Sebastian Vettel
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Feb 2011   |  4:01 pm GMT  |  59 comments

This week, I had the chance after the last test in Barcelona to interview Mark Webber about testing so far and his thoughts on the season ahead, particularly his ongoing battle with Sebastian Vettel.


He makes some very interesting observations about the Pirelli tyres and how they have made F1 like a ‘different category’. He also talks about the things he has taken from last season’s campaign, which will make him a stronger competitor this year.

When asked about whether it will be ‘happy families’ with team mate Sebastian Vettel – given the aggro that existed between them last year – he accepts that they will be pushing each other in the same way as last year, but makes some surprising suggestions about the way the races might unfold between them.

Mentally Webber seems to have hit the reset button. His attitude going into this season is that he did a lot of things right last year, he just needs to chip away at a few small things which can make the difference.

It was often the case that there was a scant few hundredths of a second between him and Vettel in qualifying and this often decided the weekend. Making more of those occasions go in his favour will surely be the key area to work on.

(Still images: Red Bull)

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59 Comments
  1. Michael Grievson says:

    I hope he does well

    The back end of the redbull seems very compact

  2. jmv says:

    nice! he’s fresh and ready!

  3. luciano says:

    Nice interview. Not so sure about the haircut.

    1. Mark Taylor says:

      Haha, the haircut certainly has no signs of any double diffuser treatment

  4. Mark Taylor says:

    Interesting comments on how Mark thinks the races this year will be broken into segments with the top drivers separated until the final lap so to speak… Hopefully will make for some great strategies to combat tyre wear. For those not in Australia, the coach Mark mentions in his interview, Wayne Bennett, is one of the most respected coaches in Australia – nice to see Mark is getting advice from him.

    Cant wait for the season to start. As Mark alluded to, only so much talk can come from testing. Lets race and see which teams have come to the 2011 party!

    1. Jon says:

      Wayne Bennett = Jerry Sloan with the Utah Jazz.

      Bennett was with the Broncos from 1988 up until a year or two ago. Difference between he and Sloan is that he won many grand final trophies (championships).

      So an NRL reference, and an NBA referece, the Euro’s are going to have no hope diciphering what I am talking about but oh well.. haha.

      1. Martin says:

        Somewhere between Ferguson and Wenger in success would describe him.

  5. Brian M says:

    Mark, please stay off the bikes.

  6. Davexxx says:

    Thanks James for the interview. Judging by Mark’s comments about ‘not being so much wheel-to-wheel with Seb this year’, it sounds like Red Bull will make deliberate efforts to gap the guys more, thanks to the increased pit stops through tyre degradations! But there’ll still be the inevitable comings-together at the end, as he said! Exciting!
    On a separate topic James, a lot of people have been asking your opinion about McLaren, presumably concerned about their ‘lack of advance/headlines’ – any info or comment?

    1. Ralf F says:

      I have the feeling all the teams will be minimising the risks by running each car on a different strategy, at least until a clear picture emerges of what the best way to go is.

  7. jonrob says:

    As Mark said there is a lot more scope for different tyre strategies to be used this season.

    With the marbles preventing overtaking on the track, regardless of rear wing flaps, the extra pit stops will allow a much more complicated game to be played.
    Ross Brawn could be in his element this year, he, like Neo in the Matrix, “sees” the race unfold into its logical fundamentals, (Like Adrian Newey can “See” the aero”) the cars will not be winning races this season, it will be tactics and tyre strategy. Schumacher may be able to make a difference this year if he really has still got it! But Nico deserved to be up there too.
    Red Bull are not good at tactics, too many cooks interfering.(Mark is still a top bloke though who, uninjured this year, could “whup the pup”).
    Ferrari are not good at strategy though the reorganisation and firing squad may make an improvement; traditionally McLaren are strong in this area.
    Also I want to see my Team Lotus do some good again, hopefully in the midfield, do they have a decent strategy software package?

    Whilst I would like to see Nic and Vitaly do well I cannot support their team bosses.

    Any nominations for first rear wing failure? It could be spectacular, akin to brake failure!

    1. Jack Flash says:

      Opinion: Unlikely to be like a Brake Failure. Unless whole Rear Wing system structurally fails wholsale.

      The Rear Wing activations systems are “fail to close”, or in other words fail to ‘safe mode’ with full downforce. This is what I am lead to belive is the basics for all cars RWA systems. Makes real safety sense too!

      The actuator (on driver activation) holds the wing-flap up against return-force spring, to create the bypass slot for aero drag reduction and downforce bleed; not the other way around. If the actuator power fails, the gap snaps closed.

      Only bug bear could be if the power activation of flap-up gets stuck “ON”, but safety systems to cut activator power would be part of control designs no doubt. JF

      1. Stevie P says:

        I can hear it now…

        JA: So Sergio welcome to the podium in F1. Your first race and, wow!, a victory… tell us all about it?

        SP: Well, the power activation on the rear-wing flap stayed on… y’know, so I lapped the field 6 times during the race… I was sooo far in front at half-stage of race, that I pulled in for a pit-stop, had a cup of tea, a quick chat with Sam and the boys, then I thought I’d better get back to the race… yeah, it’s a nice position to be in. I’m delighted for myself and the team and the person that designed that switch.

        ;-)

        On a serious note, I can see teams that have a definitive No1 and No2 driver splitting the strategies; however where there’s “equality” I can see both drivers wanting the best solution\approach for them. I do hope to see some races where one driver is on strat x and another on strat y and someone from the midfield (running long) pops up into the bigger positions, just to see how the other teams react to that.

  8. Johnty says:

    Thanks for the interview. Really looking forward to the start of the season!Would love to see a Webber win in Melbourne to start the year off.

  9. Jon says:

    I worry about Webber’s chances due to strategies from the pitwall. If you look at 2009 and 2010, especially last season in races like Melbourne and Canada, Webber didn’t actually drive that bad, but he was put into a weaker position vs Vettel due to strategy. Heck, even Monza.

    Hungary was a rare exception.

    The point is.. usually there is an optimum strategy and Webber is going to get it. The only way Webber can counter that is what he did in Spain/Monaco/Turkey by getting pole.

    1. Jon says:

      “and Webber ISN’T going to get it” is what I meant.

    2. Mark V says:

      Perhaps you are correct, but Webber seems to be better at calling the shots as the race unfolds than Sebastien is(not that Seb isn’t a smart cookie but he’s less experienced). With even more new variables added this year and the promise that there will be more passing, more pit-stops and more variations on strategy (on paper at least), the ability to think on one’s feet and make quick decisions may be as or more important as pole position or outright speed.

  10. Steve in Somerset says:

    Hi James, thanks for posting this. Definitely interesting reading!

    What do you make of Red Bull using the Infiniti (rebranded Renault) engines. Will you be doing a piece on this?

    Many Thanks

    Steve

  11. JJ MUPPET says:

    As I hail from OZ Mark, go kick their ***.

    MW = WC 2011.

  12. Darryl Ephraums says:

    No broken legs or fractured shoulders? Good. About time.

  13. F1 2010 to kill time until March says:

    Good luck Mark! James, you`ve been to the Barcelona test, did you see any flexing on the RBR front wing, or on any other car?

  14. Damien says:

    Thanks for the interview James.

    With the graphs you showed us last week, I think Webber’s comments about how the races will unfold are very interesting.

    The tyres will be such a performance differentiator, that the combination driver/car will be far more important than last year.

    If Pat Fry offers sensible race strategies, I wouldn’t bet against Fernando dominating the 2011 championship.
    If the McLaren can be upthere with the Red Bull and Ferrari, there’s also a chance of Button becoming a serious title challenger.

    As much as I’d like Webber to do well, I fear his tyre management won’t be as good as the two aforementioned drivers.

  15. Jack Flash says:

    With the variances thrown up by the wear rates of the Pirelli boots, and numbers of pitstops needed per race, I am sorta hoping that even if there is one ‘Optimum Strategy’, there are other strategies that are close to optimum too (Some tracks more than other of course).

    I think that the Optimum Strategy worked out before ‘lights-out’ of the race, may very well change somewhat – as the outlook of what other teams are doing, and the race pace, track threats, and track conditions vary over the full course of the race.

    If that be the case, then there is no way to be sure the starting Optimum Strategy will remain that way.

    So as long as Mark and Seb start out on slightly different (Optimum & near Optimum)plans, and aren’t wanting the same thing at the same time from the Pit Box thru race; the team should be able to get away from the obvious conflicts of favour from 2010.

    Here’s hoping anyhow. I want Mark to have a fair go at it! JF

  16. Geez says:

    Yet another pro Webber article with pro Webber comments only.

    English speaking F1 side on a roll with Webber PR before the season even began, just awesome.

    He just isn’t good enough and has a very nasty strategy of making people crash into him because he knows he lost the place, driving to the accident. Drop it already trying to make him look like a modern day Robin Hood or something.

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s very cynical.

      1. Mattyjon70 says:

        For Geez,
        Clearly you beleive Lewis was in the right.
        Your wrong and so said the stewards.

      2. James Draper says:

        Right it is, sometimes he just drives up their rear end!

    2. mael says:

      Only a handful of drivers give a decent interview, MW just happens to be one of them.

      As for the crashing into statement, he is no more guilty of it than any other driver on the circuit.

    3. Jack Flash says:

      Funny.
      He handed everyone a whipping at Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Not least of all Seb in the same car. Out drove the field to win Silverstone and Hungaroring last year. Podiums all year. Won half the points for a maiden WCC to RBR.

      Yeah. A real hack!

      I bet Massa, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Sutil, etc. etc….. wish they were that ‘not good enough’ in 2010.

    4. unoc vII says:

      A wooping 33 comments on this article as of me posting this. The reason why others have more negative comments is because people are intersted in debating other posts. This is merely a non controversial interview and is only really interesting for those who are interested in Mark Webber. Hence those posting (obviously interested in MW) tend to post positive things about Mark Webber.

    5. Mattyjon70 says:

      You would be referring to Lewis last year right ?
      Its time to move on. Stewards cleared him and Lewis has no issue.

    6. Landon says:

      Hey Geez,
      You know who else had the ‘driving to the crash’ style? Senna.

      1. rodger says:

        Comparing Webber to Senna? How accurate! Just take away the talent, speed, intelligence, and add a bucketload of whinging (mistaken for Aussie grit…well, grit does rhymn with his ability) and there you have it. You’d actually have to rub your eyes that it isn’t the great Senna. webber’s a joke. Last year he got lucky, and still blew it. 2011 he’ll just get blown away by a teammate who will be more confident and more mature. G’day mate!

      2. 4wheels says:

        Wow rodger. Did Mark Webber kick your dog or do something naughty with your wife/GF? Such hatred for a good honest F1 driver. You must be a Vettel fan as they seem to be the only ones that speak like that about Mark and i really don’t know why. Not sure what else Mark can do to prove to people like you that he’s a decent driver. If he wasn’t he wouldn’t be racing.
        It must hurt you soo bad when Webs beats your man Seb. Well get used to it, its gonna happen a few more times yet.

      3. rodger says:

        Haha! Webber kick my dog? Do sonmething naughty mith my gf? He’d probably only injure himself trying. At least then he’d have another excuse about why he can’t cut it in an F1 car. I’m not a fan of Vettel per se, just of really good drivers. And I don’t like whinging drivers. Webber won’t cut it. But I’ll enjoy watching him try.

    7. karen says:

      [mod]
      He’s won six races – one of them Monaco, which is considered a track that only truly superb drivers win at, and he didn’t win by luck there. He’s fought for the championship last year, denied only by a slip that every driver on the grid has made in their lifetime, and a team that would have sooner lost the championship than see him win it.

      And at least, unlike his teammate, he’s never deliberately crashed into anyone then blamed it on THEM!

      [mod]

      1. James Allen says:

        Read the rules of the blog, please.

  17. Matt Cheshire says:

    Does Webber get to choose his strategy or does the pit wall dictate? If Vettel gets winning strategies over Webber there will be a whole new set of fireworks.

    Did Mark say “arksed” instead of “asked”? Its the sign of a county bumpkin in Australia. Watch your consonants Mark!

  18. seifenkistler says:

    I think the first 3-4 races will be experimenting and trying different strategies in a team.
    And i hope there is no whining that the team mate got the better strategy, at least till all the stuff has settled and the experimenting phase is over.

    I don’t think that there will be a lottery who gets which strategy. I think it is realistic to think that Vettel can choose first.

    But i really hope no whining the first 3-4 races.

  19. Mr Squiggle says:

    Thanks for the video James, two comments from me:

    1) MW doesn’t sound like a man who might be running his last year in F1

    2) I wonder whether the tyre degredation is so steep that teams will struggle to run pit stops on consecutive laps – ie will the number 2 give up so much performance in driving the extra lap that they need to go off-strategy from the green light?

    1. James Allen says:

      I asked him about that and he said he had no thoughts of retiring

  20. mael says:

    Thanks for sharing the interview with us James.

    Just a side note, do you think that KERS will be used more as a defensive tool against those deploying the adjustable wing or will that have too greater tyre wear to be a worthwhile tactic?

    mael

    1. James Allen says:

      I think they will all use it at the same time, so it will not be a differentiator

  21. Simon Haynes says:

    I’m curious – did any of the teams try running two cars line astern for 20-30 laps to test the tyre wear? During races we always hear how following another car reduces downforce and wears the tyres a lot quicker, and I’m wondering whether they test for this.

    1. Teams can only take one car testing.

      1. Simon Haynes says:

        Good point, although Red Bull/Toro Rosso could probably organise something with a phone call or two.

  22. Mike says:

    no need to post please.

    Just wanted to say thanks for your website James.
    Its definitely a daily checker for me as we get closer to the season start. Thoughtfull, regular and well balanced posts, cheers.

    As a side note if you come across any good sites that stream any form of live data during races (other than the Official Timing from the FOM site), I’m sure many of your readers would appreciate the heads up. Especially given the anticipated complexity of the upcoming races.

  23. Thebe says:

    I think Mark is an experienced Driver and judging him from last year’s performance he is very determined .If one compares him to Sebastian , he looks to be the more experienced one, most of us come to this conclusion because he(Webber) has been in F1 longer than Vettel, while Vettel is perceived to be the superfast one. If I had to answer the question of whether Webber will beat Seb this year I would have to say, its possible, I think its safe to say that he uped his game big time last year,but one must never assume it will be easy for Mark to beat Vettel, I suspect Seb would have learned from his mistakes last year,he is aware that Mark wants to beat him and I’m sure he does not intend to make it easy for mark to achieve this.Sebastian in 2010 was very strong , yes there were some odd few mistakes there and there , I have always considered how far Seb would have been from Mark 2010 mid season if his championship had not been affected by his reliability problems I think Mark would have found it even more difficult to catch up to him points wise .To me Seb was a stronger racer last year than Mark because he had more strong races than Mark only his biggest problem last year was reliability.

  24. iceman says:

    Love Mark’s facial expression when James says “looks like you’ve got another great car.” He almost manages to keep a straight face, but not quite! Seems they’re pretty happy with it.

    1. James Allen says:

      So they should be – its a rocket ship

  25. JohnBt says:

    Mark’s a great bloke!!! All the best to him.

  26. karen says:

    James, I will admit it – I was never a fan of your commentary. But your journalism since you’ve left the booth has been outstanding. Fantastic piece and you can tell Mark is pleased to be talking to someone who actually knows what they’re talking about for a change!

  27. D. says:

    Well, once again … it won’t happen for Webber because he just doesn’t have the mental strength to be consistently good, neither is he a top-5 driver in any respect. He is occasionally very good, but that doesn’t (and hasn’t) do (done) it. Vettel will only get stronger, just like Alonso did after he won his first title. With Massa returning to form, Rosberg in a better car and Lewis still a threat, the max Webber can hope for is 5th place in the WDC. And I find it intersting that of all the top drivers, this interview had to be w/ Webber. Why not Lewis, why not Vettel, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Michael, Button, etc ?

    1. Paul says:

      Well why not Webber for the interview? Just because YOU don’t like him doesn’t mean others can’t hear what he has to say. He is, afterall, a part of a championship winning team and came 3rd himself and , by all reports, the RB7 is going to be a front running car again. All very good reasons to interview him.

    2. karen says:

      Um…Webber not having the mental strength? Sorry, who led the championship for the longest period of time last year? Who had to fight his team to get there? Who had to fight his way back from a broken leg and fractured shoulder? Who actually raced the last few races of the season with a fractured shoulder? I’m not seeing any sign of mental weakness there, mate.

      But if you want to talk mental weakness, Vettel’s behaviour in Barcelona, Monaco, Turkey, Silverstone, Hungary, Spa…

  28. Lladnar says:

    I liked the interview and he has offered zero excuses as to why he didn’t finish with the Championship, class act Mark! Anyway, ‘SebastiVet’ will be winning more Poles and Podiums this year than he did last year and he’ll probably end up giving a little credit to Mark for the “teammate/camaraderie” they seemed to have put together. Or at least that is what I hope to see! BTW, I miss Kimi : (

    1. karen says:

      Vettel will give Webber credit for his help when hell freezes over.

      We saw him punt his teammate off the road; we saw him sulk when his teammate won fair and square; we saw him make excuses all year, and we saw him throw a massive temper tantrum when Mark out-strategised him. Red Bull can make it pretty all they like. As long as there is a chance that Mark can beat Vettel, there will be tension.

      Kimi is gone and thank god for that. Now if only I could shoehorn him out of WRC and get a more deserving driver in there (Atkinson). Talented driver but oh god did his attitude ever rub me up the wrong way.

  29. Pablo says:

    This is “Webber’s” year.
    I’ve watched F1 for the last 30 odd years. Was a big fan of the underdog, especially Mansell.
    I reckon Webber will do it this year and my reason is thru sheer balls and determination.
    Like Mr.Mansell and with a independent constructor.

    Go Mark I will be there cheering you on in Melbourne!!!

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